With not much headway after the talks between PMC officials and villagers of Urali Devachi, garbage continued to pile up across the city on Thursday. Municipal Commissioner Vikas Deshmukh assured political leaders and villagers that the civic body would look for alternate solutions to resolve the issue of garbage treatment and processing plants but it should be given some time.
Villagers have been protesting against the dumping site at Urali Devachi as it poses a health and environmental hazard. They have been blocking the garbage dumpers from entering the village since Monday. On Thursday’s meeting with the villagers, Deshmukh said the alternate solution would be a permanent one. “However, till then, the villagers should cooperate with the PMC and allow the civic garbage vehicles to dump the waste at the existing processing plants,” he said.
The city generates around 1400 metric tonnes of garbage daily. However, with the processing plant at Urali Devachi developing a snag, not much processing is taking place at the moment. This mega plant on PMC land is run by a private agency, Hanjer Biotech.
The company has not cleared electricity bills and has drastically cut down staff strength after running into losses. As a result, the plant is not functioning to its full capacity, while other smaller plants at Ramtekdi and biogas plants across the city cannot process the huge quantity of garbage.
The PMC is working towards making the processing plant run by Hanger Biotech fully operational. “The private company has conveyed that the plant is not financially feasible to them… Thus, to ensure the plant runs to full capacity, the PMC would pay the labourers and also the electricity bill,” said Suresh Jagtap, Joint Municipal Commissioner.
The PMC administration has also restarted supplying waste to farmers in the adjoining villages within 75 km for preparing manure. “The service is free of cost and farmers have started taking benefit of it,” said Jagtap, adding that the facility had been stopped after a garbage container going to deliver the waste to a farmer accidentally ran over some people on Mulshi road some time back. The PMC has also appealed to residents and shopkeepers to ban plastic bags, plastic tea cups and thermocol that cause major obstructions in processing of the garbage.
Joint survey of 7 sites today for treating garbage
The district collectorate has prepared a list of seven abandoned stone quarries around Pune where the city’s garbage can be dumped. While the list has been submitted to the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), a survey will be undertaken on Friday.
Last month, the then district collector Vikas Deshmukh, who has now taken over as PMC Commissioner, had asked his team to conduct a survey and prepare a list of the sites where garbage could be treated. “There was a list of both government and private lands, including abandoned stone quarries. The proposal is to fill these sites with the garbage that could also be treated there,” said a district collectorate official. The sites adjoining the present dumping area will be jointly surveyed by the PMC and the district collectorate. The sites finalised by the district collectorate would initially treat 250 metric tonnes of garbage, gradually increasing the volume to 750 MT.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who was on a visit to the site recently, had strongly advocated initiatives for scientific disposal of garbage at Urali Devachi. He had also stressed the need for decentralising the garbage treatment process. He had urged the collectorate to identify sites to set up plants to generate power and biofuel from garbage.
PMC officials said the entire garbage could not be dumped at one location, with the amount of it generated in the city increasing every year.